For the Love of Sports

John Boyle, ’02, has ‘dream job’ covering pro sports

Written by Tina Potterf
Photography by John Lok
July 10, 2014
As a sports reporter John Boyle, who has logged more than a decade in the profession, has covered countless games, athletes and “personalities” that define mainstream professional sports.

But two events, both in recent history, rank as the top stories in Boyle’s book: the thrilling U.S. vs. Canada hockey game for the Gold Medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2013 NFC West Championship Game at Century Link, where the Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers in the final seconds of the game to secure a spot to Super Bowl 48.

As an economics major at SU, Boyle, ’02, originally thought he’d do something in the business world. But he never got to the point of crunching numbers or analyzing stats—well, except for game stats—as he got his first writing gig upon graduation.

In 2002 he was hired on as a part-time news assistant on the sports desk at the Seattle Times. That role evolved to include covering and reporting on games. After five years at the Times he left for the The Herald in Everett, where he has been since 2007. Boyle covers the main Seattle sports teams—Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders FC—for the daily. This is a “dream job,” says Boyle, who found a profession where he can marry his love of writing and passion for sports. “Part of what I like about sports writing is how different it is week to week. I love what I am doing.

“It’s a lot of work and a lot of fun. …There’s still enjoyment for me in finding a great story to tell or a different angle to a story.”

A stint on The Spectator his senior year and an English writing class helped crystallize his future as a writer—and a shift from economics. (There was a fleeting idea of going to law school following an internship at the King County Prosecutor’s Office.)

“I did love writing for The Spectator,” says Boyle. “I decided I wanted to see if I could make something out of it.”

When he realized he had talent writing, he wanted to tap into a career where he could make a living writing about something that interested him. It just so happens that he has always been involved in sports, both as a participant and an observer. (At SU, he was a member of the golf and ski teams.) And a sports reporter was born.

As a sports writer and columnist, 2013 was a good year for Boyle, who got to experience his first Super Bowl. Before the season began—actually going back to the training camps last summer—Boyle predicted the Seahawks would make it to the big game. He even predicted they would go head to head with Denver and win. That 43-8 blowout? Well, like most of the rest of the country, he didn’t see that one coming.

The build up to the Super Bowl meant a whirlwind week of interviews and traveling to and from the media hub—aka “media row”—and the team hotel for player insights, sound bites from the coaches and analysis leading up to the game, Boyle says. The energy of the city was palpable and he was blown away by the number of Seahawks fan in town for the game, with Times Square and other parts of Manhattan and New Jersey awash in 12th Man pride.

So what about a return to Super Bowl 49 for the Hawks? And will the Mariners win more games than last year?

Here’s the sports reporter’s take—and predictions—on the upcoming seasons for the Hawks, the Mariners and the city’s favorite soccer club.

Seattle Mariners: With a new coach and the addition of hitter Robinson Cano, Boyle thinks the team made some good changes in the offseason that may make them a .500 team and while “a lot would have to go right for them to be playoff contenders,” says Boyle, the changes may be enough to win back some fans.

Seattle Sounders FC: Seattle’s popular soccer team underwent a slew of changes as well, with some veteran players departing and new faces taking center stage. In light of the comings and goings, and the disappointing end to last season, Boyle says it will be “interesting” to see how the season plays out and if the fandom will wane should the team sputter.

Seahawks: The team, Boyle says, should remain largely intact as the championship team of 2013. But some changes have happened and will continue to in this offseason. While he won’t say that the Seahawks will be back to the Super Bowl next season, he speaks with confidence that this is a team that is built for success for years to come—and doesn’t rule out a return trip. “They are going to be good for a long time.”
John Boyle John Boyle cites the Super Bowl, where the Seahawks bested the Broncos, as one of the top stories he's covered.